Catalog Archive
Auction 167, Lot 243

"Cusco", Montanus, Arnoldus

Subject: Cusco, Peru

Period: 1671 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

13.6 x 10.4 inches
34.5 x 26.4 cm

Montanus' work was perhaps the greatest illustrated book on the New World produced in the seventeenth century. It contained over one hundred beautifully engraved plates, views, and maps of North and South America. The plates vividly depict forts, festivals, occupations, Dutch fleets, battles, religious rites, and customs of the native inhabitants. This important work was translated into German by Olivier Dapper, and into English by John Ogilby. Several of the plates were later acquired by Pierre Vander Aa.

Very fine copperplate engraving of Cusco from the vantage point of a hill overlooking the city. The foreground is filled with people and livestock traveling the road leading to the town. The publication history of this engraving is interesting, as it appeared in both regular and reverse images in various Dutch editions of Montanus' De Nieuwe en Onbekende Weereld published by Jacob de Meurs in 1671. It is unclear which edition was the first - the edition with the large temple and bridge on the left side, or the edition with the temple and bridge on the right. The edition with the temple and bridge on the right was acquired by Ogilby for his English translation of Montanus' work published later the same year (1671), whereas the edition with the temple and bridge on the left was acquired by Olfert Dapper and published in the German translation, Die Unbekante Neue Welt, oder Beschreibung des Welt-Teils Amerika, in 1673. This is the only plate we are aware of that exists in both regular and reverse editions within Montanus' work.


Condition: A

On watermarked paper with a couple minuscule worm holes that are only visible when held up to light. Short centerfold separations confined to the top and bottom blank margins have been repaired on verso with archival materials.

Estimate: $200 - $230

Sold for: $110

Closed on 3/28/2018